FASHION 101: PERKS AND QUIRKS IN THE ART OF BLOGGING
What started as a means of personal exploration, or a method of self-discovery and aspiration, has quickly fizzled into a frenzy of gimmicky blurbs filled with clichéd words like “haute” and “chic.” Naturally, “#WAYWT” (what are you wearing today?) bloggers aren’t the only ones who have invested in this industry; photographers with impressive street-style shots (e.g. The Sartorialist or Liam Goslett) have delved into the empire.
To capture the immensity of this reformation, picture this: flashing lights are sparking in all directions during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, but the cameras aren’t only for the designers or the models. The petite self-made fashionista in front of the fountain steals the spotlight momentarily. Fashion bloggers, like those aligned with NowManifest, have made their way into international fashion week runway shows and presentations updating their fan-base with their take on the shows. With the rise of digital and social media, it has become second nature to post images on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. So bloggers can insist that blogging is not dead, but alive and kicking in twenty different ways. Perhaps what is arguably “dead” is blogging integrity.
Subsequently with multiple publicized social platforms at hand it’s not uncommon to see banal subjects recycling posts from more exposed blogs. Those who try to gain the most followers in the shortest duration (and in turn churning out revenue via bandwidth and ad space — something short of a “get-rich-quick” scheme) may not recognize that they lack a quality that others may possess.
Mena Trott, co-founder of Six Apart and supposed “Mother of Blogs,” says that frankly, “I’m scared shitless [of the attack of the blogs],” but quickly notes that this giant of a business has allowed one man to live off ad-space revenue. That’s huge; however, the route to arrive at such a point is mettlesome revealing that fashion demands a severe filtering of blogs for representation. In another sense, this sort of selectivity also serves as a form of quality control weeding out the gems and placing them in a vase amongst vases of glory. Success stories, like The Blonde Salad, The Style Rookie, or The Man Repeller, shows that not anyone can blog; a blogger shows that he or she tops all others in wit, innovation, and, of course, trends. Without a unique forte, a blogger can’t possibly survive. Those that do understand that don’t just take a few quirky photographs here and there, but hone their lucrative assets.
Even huge industry heads like Proenza Schouler see the impact of fashion bloggers. Profiting pseudonyms are given goals and eventually quotas (depending on how popular one is) to reach by their affiliations: such as meeting estimated traffic reports, and high engagement levels. Cross-promotion between brands and bloggers has become a major opportunity for both ends, but a business is a business and even if it looks bubbly on the outside it pays attention to the slightest detail. So don’t screw up. Unfortunately, this sort of pressure can bring some into the “sell-out” zone leaving promising stars into burnouts.
In a sense, it’s the “survival of the fittest”: a social experiment of Darwinian standards – oh, all right that’s a stretch, but it definitely isn’t something to be taking lightly. Conferences and workshops (i.e. The Blogcademy) are still being held for up-and-coming entrepreneurs delving into the playing field to pique the interest of potential powder-keg bloggers. It all really boils down to keeping a strong informed audience who contribute and can be contributed to. A following is a following and that leaves no room for discrimination to the blogger in the front row. The art of blogging is not dead, in fact it has grown exponentially, it just up to the artist to refine it.